To the Editors:

In his column in last week's Orient ("'Bowdoin Bubble' isolates the College from intolerance," December 3), Judah Isseroff argued that Bowdoin's isolation from the broader American society contributes to an atmosphere of tolerance on campus. Besides insulting Bowdoin students, many of whom would doubtless take issue with his claim that "[they] do not know many of the practical challenges of life," he raises the question: tolerance of whom?

Independence from the capriciousness of everyday politics is good—it is the responsibility of academia to take the long view, examining without bias the foundations and implications of policy. But attacking "broader American values" as crude, unsophisticated and unintelligent is neither responsible nor tolerant. Indeed, in the token devil's advocate paragraphs at the end of his article, Isseroff suggests that students may condemn "religion and tradition" as a consequence of the "overwhelmingly secular bubble" within which they exist. Is this tolerance?

In a community that prides itself on being a "bastion of tolerance," is it really helpful to claim that "our treatment of sexuality is far more complex and intelligent than most of those in American politics and this nation as a whole"? Perhaps we're in need of a more meaningful discussion of what "tolerance" means at Bowdoin.


Zack Suhr '14